In 1999, Align Technology pioneered a whole new market in the orthodontics sector. The medical device company launched the Invisalign® system, a product that works to straighten the teeth of teenagers and adults without the need for metal braces. It was an unheard of, but welcomed, innovation at the time. The clear removable aligner has since gone on to improve the pearly whites of more than three and a half million patients all over the world, becoming a clear leader in the marketplace.
Invisalign clear aligners are offered in more than 90 countries across the globe and Align Technology has achieved superb sales growth since its inception. People know it by name and request it specifically from their orthodontists and general dental practitioners. The system is a combination of proprietary virtual modelling software, rapid manufacturing processes, and mass customisation. Treatment times vary from patient to patient, but on average a customer requires one full year of treatment, which is equivalent to 26 sets of Invisalign clear aligners. Align Technology provides all of the clinical education programs and the tools that orthodontists or GP dentists need to offer the treatment option in their practices.
The Invisalign system set the benchmark for what Align Technology could do and cemented its spot in the medical technology (med-tech) industry.
Following on from that success, the business introduced the iTero® intra oral scanner and OrthoCAD® services to help dental professionals deliver the most cutting-edge and effective treatment options to their patients.
The iTero intra oral scanner is an open architecture system that allows for compatibility with multiple laboratory-based CAD/CAM milling systems and over 3,000 dental labs. It works to provide a dental ‘chair-side’ platform, allowing for access to valuable digital diagnosis and treatment tools, with the potential to enhance the accuracy of records, treatment efficiency, and the overall patient experience. OrthoCAD services work hand in hand with the iTero intra oral scanners to provide digital services such as iCast®—a simplified storage and digital record retrieval service— and iRecord, which stores scanned data for the fabrication of retainers, orthodontic appliances, and hard models.
Simon Beard, Align Technology’s Vice-President and Managing Director of Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), says the pace of innovation within the organisation has been incredible, not only in terms of technology and software services, but also in terms of the business’ internal operations and staff. He first joined the group in November 2014, bringing with him more than two decades worth of experience.